The state land department said Wednesday it was tracking a large mass of nets, ropes and other marine debris in waters just south of Oahu.
The debris field – which reportedly spans the length of about two nautical miles – was first spotted on Saturday by a fisherman nearly 10 miles south of the Koko Crater.
State authorities say the mass was last spotted in the Ka Iwi Channel between Molokai and Oahu, roughly 12 nautical miles south of Honolulu. The initial sighting was confirmed by the U.S. Coast Guard, the land department says, noting that the Oliver Berry, a Coast Guard cutter, passed through the debris field on Tuesday evening.
The trajectory of the trash mass is being projected by a team of researchers from the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology at the University of Hawaii.
“As the currents in Hawaii are complex and dynamic, we don’t have a good understanding of their effect on debris of this scale,” said Dr. Nikolai Maximenko. “We are working with the Coast Guard to add a tracker to the debris to gather more data to aid our modeling.”
Should the debris make landfall, DLNR would work with other agencies to remove it, the agency says. If it remains in the ocean, it would like take a large vessel with a heavy-lift crane to remove it from the water.
State officials say there also appears to be a concentration of marine life in and around the debris field.
Source: Hawaii News Now